Vegas casinos ask for government assistance


The U.S. casino industry faces a nervous wait as industry leaders call on the Federal government to provide financial support to stimulate an industry recovery.

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Casino industry leaders are seeking tax breaks as they look to break into recovery mode from the pandemic. In March, casinos were forced into a mandatory closure, costing billions in lost tax revenue for states across the U.S.

A sense of optimism is creeping across the casino industry in the U.S. with several casinos re-opening, albeit under heavy social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 across tourism areas.

The casino industry is calling on the government to provide financial aid, with several casinos forced to lay off a significant portion of their staff as tourism and player restrictions continue to slow a recovery. This week the MGM Grand, Park MGM and Tropicana all announced that they would be reducing the size of their staff.

American Gaming Association President Bill Miller continued to talk up the possibilities of an industry recovery at the G2E 2020 conference. โ€œGaming has never experienced a disruption like COVID-19,โ€ he said. โ€œOver two weeks in March, every casino in America was closed by government-mandated shutdowns, impacting each of the 1.8 million jobs we support,โ€ Miller said.

โ€œGaming workers, their families, and the small businesses that depend on us have all been hit hard,โ€ Miller said. โ€And our states and communities are feeling it, too. In addition to COVIDโ€™s impact on businesses, jobs, and the well-being of our families, friends and colleagues, state budgets have been decimated by the pandemic,โ€ he added.

The pandemic conditions have forced the casino industry to embrace changes in an approach to digital marketing and open the door to digital cash options as a public safety measure.

Vice President of sales for the four Caesars Entertainment casinos told a Stockton University webinar that casinos needed to adapt as the recovery will take longer than expected. โ€œKeep an eye out when you walk around the casino floor. Just about every other slot machine is turned off. There are fewer seats at the gaming tables. That contributes to lower revenue. As we move forward, more and more people are being furloughed or laid off,โ€ he said. โ€œIt will be very hard to sustain that high rate of visitation.โ€